Argument: Consenting adults should be free to engage in polygamy

Issue Report: Polygamy

Reasons to agree

  1. Criminalizing polygamy violates the right to freedom of religion
  2. The government should not be involved in people’s sex lives
  3. “Anti-polygamy statutes assault civil liberties”. Daily Herald. June 25th, 2006 – “Plural marriage should be legalized simply on the grounds that it is a lifestyle consenting adults want to live. Why should a monogamous person or a gay person be entitled to any more rights then a polygamist? In America all men are created equal. Laws should be made to protect the freedom and safety of all people, not their individual religious views.”
  4. “Anti-polygamy statutes assault civil liberties”. Daily Herald. June 25th, 2006 – “Ezra Draper, Bonners Ferry, Idaho, :Government out of bounds regulating lifestyle choices, “At least take the criminal status of it off the books. As an alternative lifestyle between consenting adults there is no harm done. There is family structure for the children. The negative press we hear about is from disgruntled people that have left. Take a poll of monogamists who have had a terrible relationship and see if they were happy in it. Does monogamist Mark Hacking’s actions mean that all monogamists are bad? No. Decriminalize polygamy and leave all consenting adults alone — polygamist, monogamist, bisexual or gay. Keep government out of the bedroom.”
  5. As long as consenting adults freely choose to engage in polygamous marriages, the government has little cause to intervene. It should be assumed that individuals will engage in contracts only when it is in their mutual interests. Some defend laws against polygamy on the basis that women are not actually freely consenting to polygamy, even if they say so; that social/communal and religious doctrine are forcing them to do so. But this assumes far too much, opening an unruly debate about what constitutes free will in decision-making. On a legal basis, only clear evidence that women are being forced to engage in polygamous contracts should be used to invalidate such contracts. Otherwise, polygamy should be legalized on the basis that the vast majority of these women claim to engage in polygamous contracts by free will.

Reasons to disagree